I have had this mask covering my face and a wall surrounding myself for a – Very.Long.Time. I was only a little girl when I began building up the wall and learning how to put the mask on.
6 years old with brown curly ringlets and big blue innocent eyes. But the innocence was lost in time. All it took was a few
weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds.
I learned very quickly that I needed to build a foundation to support my wall. So I began pouring cement that hardened my soul. Once the cement was dry I began laying the brick… layers and layers of brick. Each layer hiding me further and further inside myself. A layer to hide the pain,another to hide the shame, another to hide the guilt, one to hide the secrets and another to keep the memories out.
The mask was a much different design. It was one that covered the tears, and hid the hurt in my eyes. It hid depression, it hid thoughts of despair. It kept this little upturned smile on my face. You know the one? The one with the corners of your mouth barely upturned so that people think you are fine. The one where someone asks “How are you today?” and you know they really do not want to know the in depth answer that you could give them. So instead you shrug a little, smile and say “I’m fine”.
Once and a while a crack would develop in the wall, but instead of a warm light shining in all I could see was more darkness, all I could feel was cold.
I would quickly repair and build the wall back stronger then it was before. Reinforcing it with layers upon layers.
So I begin to realize that I am not necessarily protecting myself. I am just layering these things on, one on top of the other. And you know what? All I am doing is suffocating myself.
It is like laying in a dark, deep, cold pit. And someone is continually shoveling in shovel fulls of dirt. After a while the pressure starts to become too much to bare.
Pressure from guilt – trust issues – depression – frustration – secrets – memories – feeling broken.
I have instilled both of these coping mechanisms from such a young age that often times I forget how to open up and let people in. I tend to be skeptical of new friendships, afraid for people to know who I really am, afraid to trust.
But in reality I know that I have to let some people in.
Everyone needs someone.
Everyone needs that one person who is there to help, to listen, to console.
Sometimes I take a layer of bricks down and slowly poke my head up to test the waters so to speak. To see if I can let my guard down for just a moment. There are times I regret peeking out. But still there are times when I realize that I can peek out a little further because the person who is peeking back in at me understands – for they too have been where I am.